Real Salt Lake vs. New York Red Bulls | MLS Match Preview

REAL SALT LAKE vs NEW YORK RED BULLS
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
July 30, 2014 (WEEK 21, MLS Game #192)
7 p.m. MT (ESPN2/Deportes)

A high-profile interconference clash highlights the midweek schedule when Real Salt Lake play host to the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real will be looking to consolidate their hold on second place in the Western Conference, coming off a 3-1 home win against the Montréal Impact last Thursday evening. The Red Bulls hit the road hanging on to fifth place in the Eastern Conference and the final playoff position, following a 1-1 home draw with the San Jose Earthquakes in their last league contest.

REFEREE: Mark Geiger. AR1 (bench): C.J. Morgante; AR2 (opposite): Felisha Mariscal; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
MLS Career: 120 games; FC/gm: 26.7; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 30; pens: 42

SUSPENDED: NY: Lloyd Sam (caution accumulation; through July 30)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Tony Beltran, Javier Morales, Chris Wingert … NY: Jamison Olave
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Nat Borchers, Alvaro Saborio, Chris Schuler, Luke Mulholland, … NY: Thierry Henry, Armando, Tim Cahill
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (16 meetings): Real 5 wins, 24 goals … Red Bulls 4 wins, 24 goals … Ties 7
AT SALT LAKE (8 meetings): Real 4 wins, 15 goals … Red Bulls 0 wins, 7 goals … Ties 4

LAST YEAR (MLS):
7/27: NY 4, RSL 3 (Cahill 11; Espindola 23, 89; McCarty 94+ -- Saborio 45, 80, 82)
• This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
• The Red Bulls claimed a 4-3 victory in the only meeting between the teams a year ago, July 27 at Red Bull Arena. The victory snapped a six-game Real Salt Lake undefeated streak alive in the series, including three consecutive wins. The last Red Bulls victory had come April 18, 2009, at the old Giants Stadium.
• RSL has never lost to New York at home in regular season play. Real have won the last four meetings at Rio Tinto Stadium; they have four wins in eight meetings all-time, with four draws. But the Red Bulls did win the Eastern Conference Championship in Sandy in 2008.
• Coaches record: Mike Petke vs. RSL: P1 W1 L0 T0 … Jeff Cassar vs. NY: first game

REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake continued their home stretch with a victory, getting a pair of late goals for a 3-1 win against the Montréal Impact on Thursday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL are in second place in the Western Conference with 32 points from 20 matches.

LAST MATCH

• Real took the lead after just three minutes. Chris Schuler kept a corner kick alive after it wasn't cleared, and the ball landed at the feet of midfielder Luke Mulholland, who blasted it past Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush from the heart of the box.
• But the Impact pulled level in the 31st minute. Defender Hassoun Camara took a layoff from midfielder Calum Mallace, coming through into the right of the area, and slid it past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando with a first-time shot.
• The match then turned in the 65th minute, when referee Drew Fischer showed a red card to Impact midfielder Issey Nakajima-Farran for a studs-up challenge on Schuler.
• It took RSL just five minutes to take advantage, as Olmes Garcia flicked a pinpoint header off a cross from Javier Morales from the right flank into the far corner of the goal.
• Garcia and Morales then again teamed to ice the game in stoppage time, Morales sending Garcia clean through into the area before he netted his second with a rifled finish from the right side inside the far post.
• RSL head coach Jeff Cassar made two changes to the team that came back for a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Rio Tinto Stadium. Luke Mulholland came into the midfield for Luis Gil, and Robbie Findley started in attack in place of Devon Sandoval.
• REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Luke Mulholland (Cole Grossman 83), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales (John Stertzer 90) - Robbie Findley (Olmes Garcia 59), Joao Plata

TEAM NEWS

• Real won for the second time in their last nine league matches, scoring three goals for the first time since netting a season-high in a 5-2 win vs. Houston on May 11.
• “I felt like our final pass was good, especially in the second half. Obviously it opened up a bit with the red card, but they still had two banks of four sitting in front of their [18-yard box]. I thought our final ball was fantastic,” said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. “Obviously two from Javi [Morales], the set piece was good, everyone was moving, and everyone was contributing. I think if that’s happening, we’re doing really well.”
• Said Ned Grabavoy: “We haven’t been able to find that as much this season maybe as much as years past. That killer instinct a little bit to know what the numbers are going forward and to play. I’m really happy for [Olmes] Garcia. Hopefully this gives him some confidence going forward and gives us a different option. Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench. I think that’s a real positive.”
• García scored a pair of goals in a game for the second time in his MLS career – his first goals in more than a year. García had last scored in league play last July 13.
• “He was fantastic – threatening and quality. The two goals were world-class. The final ball to him was fantastic. It’s what we want from him,” Cassar said. “He gave a fantastic performance, and he also worked very hard on the defensive end. Just a great night from him.”
• Javier Morales had two assists in the victory, his first assists since May 17. Morales finished the weekend with seven assists, eighth-most in MLS this year; it was the ninth time in his MLS career he had multiple assists in a game.
• “I think we have to give credit to Javier [Morales] for sending fantastic balls. [Garcia] has been working extremely hard – we’ve been doing a lot of finishing. He’s been looking brighter and brighter, so it was just a fantastic spark when he came into the game. He’s been doing it for the last two weeks in practice, so it was good to see it on the field,” said Cassar.
• Joao Plata contributed his fourth assist of the season. He has two goals and an assist in his last six games, since returning to the lineup following a two-match absence to injury.
• Luke Mulholland also contributed his fifth goal of the season, making his first start since being sent off after just nine minutes in the June 28 match vs, Chivas USA.
• “I thought Luke [Mulholland] was a beast. He was taking a lot of punishment, and he kept running and going. It looked like he was getting stronger and stronger throughout the game, so I give a ton of credit to Luke,” Cassar said. “His finish was fantastic – he wanted to make sure he kept it on frame. Again, on both sides of the ball, he was great.”
• Said Mulholland: “he goals coming all at one time and then no goals for a while, and then they’ll come again. So hopefully this is the game that keeps starting all the goals, then we’ll get a bunch of goals in the next few games. Hopefully that will get us three points with each game starting a big streak.”

NEW YORK RED BULLS

The New York Red Bulls rebounded from a first loss in five games, gaining a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on July19 at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 24 points from 20 matches on the season.

LAST MATCH

• The Red Bulls took the lead in the first half after Earthquakes striker Steven Lenhart clearly handled the ball in the area and referee Jose Carlos Rivero pointed to the spot. Bradley Wright-Phillips converted the penalty kick in the 33rd minute, his 17th goal of the season.
• But the Quakes found a late winner as Lenhart atoned for his earlier transgression. A cross from the right flank took a deflection and Lenhart was first to it, clipping the ball up to himself before unleashing a hard volley that Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles could not stop.
• Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made one change to the team that fell 3-1 to Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Ibrahim Sekagya came into central defense in place of Matt Miazga.
• NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall, Ibrahim Sekagya, Jamison Olave, Ambroise Oyongo - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill (Peguy Luyindula 74), Eric Alexander - Bradley Wright-Phillips, Thierry Henry.

TEAM NEWS

• The Red Bulls recorded their fourth draw over the last seven matches; they have won just once in that timeframe, since May 27.
• “There’s something askew, I guess you could say, compared to last year,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “Last year, we were a good, solid team that shut teams down when we were up, that worked until the very end and it’s a little bit different this year. We’re going to try and pinpoint it.”
• Bradley Wright-Phillips scored for a fifth consecutive game, converting his fourth penalty kick this season. Wright-Phillips leads the MLS Golden Boot standings with 17 goals; he has eight goals in his last eight games, and has 16 of his goals over the last 13 games (since April 23).
• It was the third draw this season after the Red Bulls scored the opening goal. They have not won a game this season after conceding first (0-5-6), one of six teams not to have a win after allowing the opening goal.
• “We’ve got 14 games left. We have to have the mindset of fixing our mistakes,” said goalkeeper Luis Robles. “If we don’t fix our mistakes, then we can kiss the playoffs goodbye.”
• Ibrahim Sekagya made his first start in central defense since May 27, coming back into the first XI for the first time since the July 4 game at Houston.
• In their weekend away from league play, the Red Bulls defeated Arsenal FC of the English Premier League 1-0 at Red Bull Arena. The game’s lone goal came on 32 minutes, when Thierry Henry hit a corner kick from the left that Ibrahim Sekagya nodded down into the path of Bradley Wright-Phillips for an easy finish.
• Here’s the Red Bulls team: Luis Robles (Ryan Meara 81’), Chris Duvall (Kosuke Kimura 78’), Jamison Olave (Armando 46’), Ibrahim Sekagya (Matt Miazga 62’), Roy Miller (Eric Alexander 46’), Lloyd Sam (Connor Lade 81’), Dax McCarty (Ruben Bover 70’), Tim Cahill (Michael Bustamante 63’), Ambroise Oyongo, Thierry Henry (Peguy Luyindula 57’), Bradley Wright-Phillips (Andre Akpan 46’)
• “There was some very good play for us, especially in the first half on our counter,” said Petke. “[Arsenal] is one of the best passing teams in the world and we were patient and sat back and looked to counter and exploit and we did some good things. It was good to see some things that we need to improve on that we did well. For me, it’s a positive for the players.”
• Roy Miller was given a start at left back, his first appearance for the club in any sort since returning from the FIFA World Cup and Costa Rican national team carrying an injury. “From there, based on how he does, how he recovers, that’ll give us an answer for his role to play in the next game. I’m very hopeful and optimistic about Roy. It’ll be great to have him back,” said Petke.